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  • -Vice President Joe Biden thank you so much

  • for being a guest on our show, "At Home Edition."

  • I can see you're at home or somewhere.

  • Where are you right now?

  • -I'm in Wilmington, Delaware, in my recreation room at home.

  • They set up a makeshift studio here.

  • I'm just getting used to what you're very used to.

  • -Wow. What is it like campaigning

  • during this time right now?

  • Like, a lot of virtual interviews?

  • -Well, a whole lot of virtual interviews.

  • And, you know, obviously, I'm keeping to the instructions.

  • I'm not going out of the house.

  • I can walk around the property, but I'm not going out.

  • I've been here.

  • I've been, you know, keeping my distance from folks

  • when they come in.

  • And everybody walks in, they put on rubber gloves

  • and a mask and the Secret Service, so...

  • -Wow. What is the day in the life?

  • I mean, when do you start interviews?

  • -Well, I usually start interviews --

  • I start off every day with about an hour to an hour and a half

  • with the medical docs I have on my team, giving me --

  • on the phone about the status of the coronavirus

  • here and around the world.

  • And then I do an economic brief

  • with the economists that work with me.

  • And then, from that point on --

  • Actually, I get up actually at 7:30, 8:00.

  • I work out upstairs. Keeps me a little bit sane.

  • And -- But then I start the day.

  • And I've been doing a lot of --

  • You know, a lot of livestream things

  • that I'm just getting used to.

  • And it's -- But it amazes me that everybody

  • is, you know, tuning in to so many different ways

  • to find out what's going on.

  • -Everyone's been real creative. -Yeah.

  • It's been interesting. -What is your --

  • If you're talking to all these experts,

  • what is your outlook on this whole pandemic?

  • -Well, I guess, in a nutshell, Jimmy,

  • the President waited too long to start taking it seriously.

  • You know, all the way back in January,

  • I went in major newspapers

  • saying that "We've got to get moving.

  • This is a real problem. We know what's coming.

  • And we know we've got to get better at our --

  • We've got to provide tests.

  • We got to be getting out and making sure

  • people understand what's about to come."

  • But it's been a lot of lag time.

  • You know, remember the President saying,

  • "This is gonna end shortly,"

  • And, "It's going to be like a miracle," et cetera.

  • That was in spite of everything he was being told

  • by the medical experts and the scientists

  • who were talking to him and to us

  • and to everyone, quite frankly.

  • But there's still -- you know, we're in tough shape right now.

  • This virus is gonna hit in a real big way

  • in the next several weeks to a month and a half.

  • But we have -- there's things we could do now, Jimmy,

  • to make it a lot less consequential

  • into the summer and beyond.

  • We still don't have enough tests out there.

  • We still don't have --

  • Our first responders aren't having the protection they need.

  • Doctors don't have the protection they need.

  • And every single day on your network and other networks,

  • they're showing, and I'm getting briefed on,

  • the number of doctors and nurses and first responders

  • who are being infected by the coronavirus

  • and, in turn, infecting other people.

  • So it's just -- we just have to move much, much

  • more rapidly, much more quickly.

  • -Can we use any of the information that we know

  • from China or Italy to help us?

  • -Yeah, yes, we can.

  • For example, we know that if you have social distancing early on

  • and you keep it moving, that, in fact, it reduces

  • and flattens that curve,

  • and people get, you know, faster than before.

  • President hadn't done that. Tests are critically important.

  • President talked about having 4 million tests available.

  • We're nowhere near that.

  • The President talked about being in a position where

  • we're gonna have every Walmart parking lot

  • and Walgreens, et cetera --

  • we were gonna have drive-through testing, et cetera.

  • Well, there's now, after he announced that

  • a couple weeks ago, five in America, five are open.

  • It just is -- It's just -- It really --

  • There's a sense of urgency that doesn't seem to --

  • Only until yesterday at his press conference

  • did the President start to grasp the reality of what he's facing,

  • in terms of the number of potential deaths,

  • the number of people who are gonna contract the virus.

  • Thank God the majority still,

  • you know, go on to live and get through it.

  • -Yeah. -But we've got a lot to do.

  • We're not getting it done.

  • -Well, New York, where I am, and Delaware, where you are,

  • we have strict stay-at-home orders.

  • -Yep.

  • -Why is there not a nationwide stay-at-home order?

  • -Well, look, I think we're in a position where

  • I think every state is gonna have to be

  • moving in that direction.

  • And it demonstrates that it does bend that curve a little bit.

  • It does increase the prospects that fewer people

  • are going to catch the virus.

  • And the answer is, I don't fully know.

  • We're leaving it to the governors.

  • Thank God the governors have been moving.

  • Your governor of New York's done one hell of a job.

  • I think he's sort of the gold standard.

  • -Yeah. -But governors --

  • Republican governors in Ohio, for example, have moved.

  • Mike DeWine has moved. You have your governor --

  • Republican governor in Massachusetts is moving.

  • And they constantly are questioning and actually saying,

  • "Mr. President, what you just said isn't the case.

  • It's not happening that way. Let's get it straight."

  • Look, the American people can take anything.

  • You got to tell them the truth, though.

  • You got to level with them. You got to tell them

  • what has to be -- what's expected of them

  • and what you're expected to do.

  • This is the president of the United States.

  • Back a while ago, Jimmy, I said he should invoke

  • this National Defense Act that's out there,

  • this Defense Production Act it's called.

  • And it makes the president -- gives him the authority

  • to go to industries and say,

  • "Look, we don't have enough ventilators."

  • Like, finally going out with General Motors now.

  • "You're now gonna make ventilators."

  • Why aren't we doing that with masks?

  • Why aren't we doing that with gowns?

  • Why aren't we doing -- you know, we have nurses

  • putting on garbage bags

  • to try to protect themselves, et cetera.

  • We need more tests, we need more protection

  • for our first responders and doctors and nurses,

  • and we need to move quickly to get that done.

  • He has the power to do it under the act

  • that I just referenced to.

  • It allows him to say, "You're gonna do

  • and you're gonna make these things.

  • And this is what you're gonna do now.

  • Get it done."

  • -How is this pandemic affecting the election?

  • Do you think voters will be more mailing in votes?

  • -I think so. You're already seeing that

  • in states that are talking about

  • still maintaining their primaries.

  • I think there's going to have to be a really hard look

  • at increasing the prospects in the secretaries of state

  • in each of the states to control the ballots,

  • that you, in fact, make it available

  • and work on mail-in votes.

  • But there are also gonna be places where you're still

  • gonna be able to have direct voting

  • if people keep their distance and they wash down the machines,

  • letting one person in at a time, et cetera.

  • So it's gonna depend on what kind of action is taken

  • between now and the middle of the summer

  • to change this curve as to what's gonna happen

  • going into the fall.

  • For example, I doubt whether the Democratic convention

  • is gonna be able to be held in mid July, early July.

  • I think it's gonna have to move into August.

  • And then -- And even then, the Republican

  • and Democratic conventions, we're gonna have to --

  • We just have to be prepared for the alternative.

  • And the alternative, we don't know what it's gonna be

  • unless we have a better sense of whether this curve

  • is gonna move down or up.

  • -I know you've been doing a lot of virtual town halls

  • and things like that and talking.

  • It's almost like bringing back the old fireside chats.

  • -Yeah.

  • -The last time I believe I saw you on stage

  • was at the Time 100, you got --

  • You were being honored as one of the Time 100.

  • And you were so eloquent and beautifully spoken

  • when you talked --

  • I want to say you quoted, was it Yeats?

  • It was a poet, or...?

  • -It could've been Yeats.

  • Or it could've been Seamus Heaney.

  • It could've been a number of Irish poets.

  • [ Both laugh ]

  • I used to be a stutterer, and the way I overcame as a kid,

  • stuttering, I'd read a lot of Irish poetry

  • and try to memorize it to get a cadence to what I was doing.

  • You know, there was -- -It was mind-blowing.

  • I think I was sitting at your table with --

  • I was with your -- with your lovely wife,

  • and Justin Timberlake was there, and you were performing.

  • We looked at each other, Justin and I, we're like, "Wow."

  • It was just really -- It was mind-blowing.

  • -Well, I find a lot of solace in -- in poetry.

  • There's a great -- There's a great poem that --

  • written by Seamus Heaney, who recently passed away,

  • an Irish poet. It's called "The Cure at Troy,"

  • and he said, "History teaches us not to hope

  • on this side of the grave, but then, once in a lifetime,

  • that long forward tidal wave of justice

  • rises up and hope and history rhyme."

  • That's what I think we should be looking at.

  • We should be able to come out of this in a way

  • like we always do as Americans.

  • We are the only country I'm aware of

  • that goes into things of overwhelming difficulty.

  • We overcome them, and we come out stronger.

  • And I think that's what we have to focus --

  • Look at what the American people are doing, Jimmy.

  • They're incredible. Instead of making fun of --

  • Like the President's going after governors he doesn't like

  • and that kind of thing.

  • What are they doing?

  • They're going around their neighborhoods.

  • Look, there's a friend of mine

  • used to work with me down in South Carolina.

  • He has a daughter in grade school.

  • He sent me a video of the schoolteacher,

  • the kindergarten teacher called all the kids in her class

  • and said, "Here's what I'm gonna do.

  • I'm gonna ride by your house at such and such a time.

  • You sit out in the driveway on your tricycle

  • and wave to me. I miss you, want to see you."

  • Took her three hours to do it.

  • I mean, people are doing things --

  • My wife is working on --

  • We had a cancer initiative we worked on.

  • We got on the board of that initiative,

  • the Biden Cancer Initiative.

  • Called Jill, a board member, and said,

  • "Look, a lot of people are shut in.

  • They're frightened, they're older, they have cancer,